Arrest made in Mississippi Waffle House Attack that left Veteran Seriously Injured
WEST POINT, Miss. — The police chief of West Point, in northern Mississippi, said one man was arrested Monday and more arrests are expected in a weekend assault that hospitalized a 32-year-old former Marine.
Courtez McMillian, 22, of Okolona, was jailed pending charges of aggravated assault, Police Chief Tim Brinkley said in a statement. Okolona is about 30 miles north of West Point, where events unfolded outside two restaurants early Saturday. Investigators are reviewing video footage from Saturday and have compiled a list of other possible suspects from a nearby county, Brinkley said.
Ralph Weems IV of West Point remained in fair condition Monday, said Marsha Tapscott, a spokeswoman for North Mississippi Medical Center in Tupelo. She said she could not comment on a statement by Weems’ brother-in-law, Bradley Barnes of Madison, that Weems had undergone brain surgery.
David Knighten of West Point told The Associated Press on Sunday that he and Weems apparently were followed early Saturday from a Waffle House where Weems had argued with some African-American patrons. Knighten says a man outside the restaurant had waved him over and told him it wasn’t safe for white people because people were upset over the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. When he entered, Knighten said, Weems was arguing with a couple of other patrons.
Brinkley said a Waffle House employee told police who answered a 1 a.m. disturbance call that a patron was creating a disturbance and upsetting other patrons. After he was asked to leave, employees also asked the other patrons to leave, Brinkley said.
Knighten said that as he and Weems headed from the Waffle House to Weems’ house, they went into a Huddle House restaurant with a nearly vacant parking lot. However, he said, they apparently had been followed by more than 20 African-Americans. Knighten said he came out of the rest room to find Weems surrounded. When he and Weems left, Knighten said, some in the group kept him behind Weems, and when he emerged Weems was being kicked.
Knighten said he himself suffered broken facial bones, a cut above one eye and a blood clot in the other.